Yesterday the Lord figuratively hit me on the head with a spiritual 2×4. He needed to get my attention. I’ve been in a whirling vortex of depression, and that depression came from fear. The fear stemmed from uncertainty, and depression had me in sinking sand instead of having my feet firmly planted on the Rock of Christ. Instead of fearing all that I see or the fear of the unknown, the Lord literally grabbed me back from that vortex and reminded WHO I should fear. “The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow; Let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.” (Is. 8:13)
Instead of fearing anything here on earth, we must fear God. Fear of God is more than awesome respect for our Lord. We must fear when we are separate from Him. Fear that comes from the enemy is debilitating and destroys our confidence. Fear of the Lord has us walking with Him, realizing that we are standing in the presence of the Almighty righteous and holy God. But the Lord doesn’t want us flinching away from Him in fear. Instead we are encouraged to approach His throne boldly. “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:16)
We are not to see ourselves at the mercy of the enemy or anyone or anything here on earth. We are in God’s hands, and are only to worry about our place with the Lord instead of our enemies. When we revere Christ in our hearts , and we let HIM be our fear and dread, then satan and others he sends has NO power over us. “And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. ‘And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.’ But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” (1 Pet 3:13-17)
What does it mean to “sanctify Christ as Lord in our hearts”? To “sanctify” means to “hallow” or to “make holy.” The point is to make Jesus at home in our heart. Put Him on the throne. Give Him honor and glory. Love and obey Him. Allow nothing to crowd Him from the throne. Do not hesitate to give Jesus such a command over your life. He deserves it. He will not lead you the wrong way. Too many try to serve two masters; they invite Jesus to sit on one throne and materialism to sit on the other. Problem is; there is only one throne. There are not two. Jesus said it was simply impossible to serve both (Matt. 6:24), so do not try. Instead, sanctify Christ as Lord in your heart!
Sanctification is not something God does for us in spite of ourselves. This is not something the Holy Spirit irresistibly does to us apart from our own intentions. It is not an accident. It is an act of our own wills. We make the decision to “sanctify Christ as Lord in our hearts” or not. In making the choice remember the words of our Lord: “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:26)
Sometimes, sanctifying Jesus in our hearts will result in our suffering for the sake of righteousness. Because Jesus is sanctified in our hearts, we act and speak righteously. Our words and deeds exalt Him. Sin is cast down in practice as well as in word. Satan reacts through those that serve him in the world in the attempt to get Jesus out of the heart. He will try to intimidate you into compromising your faith, or at least to neglect it. The devil has a lot of tools in his arsenal, but the Lord promises: “No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me, declares the Lord.” (Is 54:17)
The Lord tells us not to be afraid, for even in the midst of suffering for righteousness, the man or woman of God is blessed abundantly. Our Lord provides much more for us than the world provides for its own. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matt. 6:33-34)
Father, we want to give You what You rightly deserve–the place of honor in our hearts. Search our hearts, Lord, and see if there are any little compartments there that we’ve set aside for junk. Is there anything that needs to go? Have Your way in all these things, Father Be the Lord of our lives. We commit them afresh to You. In Jesus’ name, amen!